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Friday, June 14, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-14-2019

Columbus Dispatch, June 14, 1919:

The Czecho-Slovakian mission [in Paris] has been studying sports and has caught the baseball fever. The members will carry home with them a number of baseball outfits and will seek to introduce the game in the new republic.

And that’s the origin of the term “Czech swing”.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 14, 2019 at 09:58 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-13-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, June 13, 1919:

Manager Hugo Bezdek received a telegram from the National League officies just before the game began yesterday instructing him that he had been suspended indefinitely for his actions toward Umpire Charles Rigler on the previous day.
Officials of the Pittsburgh club stated last night that they thought Bezdek was the victim of rather severe treatment. Hugo is a man who refrains from the use of profanity, and they seemed to be at a loss to know why he should draw this punishment.
[Rigler:] “I want it understood that I like a fighting ballplayer and one who can make it kick without trying to make the umpire look as if he didn’t know his business. Bezdek did not swear when he addressed me on the decision, but he said enough for me to eject him. Then after he left the field he remained under the grandstand for four innings yelling taunting things at me…Today I was surprised to hear Bezdek yelling at me from a box seat.

Hugo obviously didn’t have a disguise.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 13, 2019 at 09:46 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-12-2019

Washington Herald, June 12, 1919:

Major League Players Preparing for Strike

Another baseball war is imminent. Like a bolt from a clear sky comes the report that professional baseball, in the midst of what surface indications pointed to the most successful and most peaceful season in its history, in reality tottering on the brink of its most trying moment and with its very existence threatened. The Bolsheviki movement has hit the players of the two majors and three Class AA organizations.

Contending that they and not the club owners are paying and will continue to pay in settlement of the $240,000 suit of the Baltimore Federal league club…these players have recently been organizing and planning warfare of a most destructive sort.
The organization will be perfected within the next fortnight and sometime in August a general strike of the players in the five leagues will be declared.

Things were about to get a bit bumpy for professional baseball, but it had nothing to do with a labor dispute.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 12, 2019 at 10:00 AM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-11-2019

Philadelphia Evening Ledger, June 11, 1919:

The strangest double play seen around here came off in the third. Luderus was on first. Cravath lifted a foul that [Cubs catcher Bill] Killefer nabbed. With the catch Luderus put on full steam for second. Killefer pegged to first. Ludy dashed back. Killefer’s throw was bad and Merkle dropped the ball, but Luderus overslid and Merkle got the ball in time to tag him.

Cue Yakity Sax. Why did Luderus try to tag on a foulout to catcher? Why did Killfer throw to first? Why did Luderus turn around and go back to first?

There are things in this world that we will never fully understand.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 11, 2019 at 10:48 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, June 10, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-10-2019

New York Sun, June 10, 1919:

Frank Talcott, Yale’s great pitcher of 1918, says he is through with professional baseball. Talcott some time ago broke into the big leagues with Detroit. He remained with the Tigers just long enough to decide that he had no chance of making an early start in an American League game, so he asked Hughey Jennings for his release and led himself to the Philadelphia Nationals…But there too he was delegated to pitching divers no hit, no run games in the bull pen in addition to grooving the ball for the batters in practice.
Talcott could get a job with any minor league club, but he cannot see himself pitching in the lesser company, because playing ball in the minors is not profitable work.

Tough to blame him. A guy with a degree from Yale could probably do better than bumping around the South Dakota League or the Western Canada League for a few years.

Talcott never appeared in a professional game, but it looks like he spent some time in 1918 pitching for the Paterson Silk Sox against the Lincoln Giants, which is pretty cool. The 1918 Lincoln Giants featured Smokey Joe Williams, who’s in the Hall of Fame, and Bill Pettus, who would be a completely reasonable selection for the Hall. I’m not necessarily advocating for Pettus, but you could do worse. They have done worse. Recently.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 10, 2019 at 10:25 AM | 68 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, June 07, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-7-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, June 7, 1919:

Hundreds of followers of the Pirates who regretted when Bob Harmon left the team in midseason of last year wondered why Bob took the sudden step. The secret, or at least part of it is out now.

Hickory Bob, in the parlance of the speculator, “cleaned up” about $25,000 in Louisiana Oil since he shook the dust of the National League from his 10-second feet.

I don’t know how Harmon did during the rest of his time in the oil business, but I know he retired at age 30 while he was still pretty good, and I know he never threw another professional pitch. So it must have gone okay for him.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 07, 2019 at 10:04 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-6-2019

There’s been a Tubby Spencer sighting!

Seattle Star, June 6, 1919:

Meet [Salt Lake City manager] Eddie Herr’s catchers. Tubby Spencer is from the big show and Butch Byler is a University of Washington boy. Both are good receivers; in fact, Spencer is ranked with the best mask men in the league. Spencer was with Detroit in the American league for a couple of years. He hits the ball hard and far when he connects.

Spencer has become a bit of a Dugout mascot over the years - when he wasn’t diving through plate glass windows for a sandwich, getting kicked out of cities, or quitting baseball to become a lumberjack and/or hobo, he was an itinerant backup catcher. The link is worth clicking IMO, just for a photo of Spencer and Byler in their uniforms. Looks like Salt Lake may not have had a logo on their uniforms in 1919. They just had an American flag.

In other news, Babe Ruth may be out for a while after injuring his knee diving into third base.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 06, 2019 at 10:04 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, tubby spencer

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-4-2019

Grand Forks Herald, June 4, 1919:

Cleveland and St. Louis broke even in a double header Tuesday, St. Louis winning the first game 14 to 6…and Cleveland taking the second, 8 to 5.
Doc Johnston, Cleveland first baseman, fouled out in the second game after having nine consecutive hits in nine times at bat

I don’t know what got into Johnston in 1919, but he hit .219/.278/.287 in 762 plate appearances between 1916-1918. Doc hit .297/.346/.390 between 1919-1921.

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago today, the Memphis News Scimitar has one of the most racist stories I’ve ever seen - and that’s saying something. Apparently former Memphis Chicks manager Dolly Stark has a strong aversion to teaching Malaysians to play baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 04, 2019 at 10:07 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, June 03, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-3-2019

Toledo News-Bee, June 3, 1919:

Struck on the elbow by a pitched ball, Frank Galit’s fingers became locked on the baseball bat and it required four men to pry them loose. Galit’s arm was paralyzed about an hour by the blow.

I’m not a doctor—I didn’t even stay at a hotel last night. But I can’t even imagine how this would happen.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 03, 2019 at 09:55 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, May 31, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-31-2019

El Paso Herald, May 31, 1919:

Funds are rapidly accumulating for the erection of a monument or tablet to Capt. Eddie Grant, baseball’s hero of the Argonne, and generous contributions have been made by the officers of the 77th division, with which he fought, to the purse started by baseball men in New York last winter. The Grant memorial fund, which has charge of the moneys, is now seeking a suitable site for the location of the memorial and it is probable that the Polo Grounds, in New York, will be selected as the spot for its erection.

The memorial was, appropriately, unveiled on Memorial Day in 1921. It’s not crystal clear where the plaque is now. The Baseball Reliquary probably has it, but some have said their plaque might be a prototype and not the Eddie Grant plaque.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 31, 2019 at 09:52 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, eddie grant, heroes, history, memorial day

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-30-2019

Liberty [Mississippi] Southern Herald, May 30, 1919:

All the blackboard stuff in the world can’t help when such a play is pulled as came off in the Cardinals-Reds game on April 24. In the third inning with one down Heathcote on first, Hornsby hit as clean a smash as ever was poled. It was good for three bases at least. Heathcote ran as far as second, listened to [Cincinnati second baseman] Morris Rath a moment and then raced back for first. He met Hornsby on the way. Rogers passed him and was called out. And there stood Heathcote back on first base, well satisfied with himself.

That’s not a TOOTBLAN, that’s a COOTBAGID*.

* - called out on the basepaths, another guy is dumb.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 30, 2019 at 09:56 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cootbagid, dugout, dumbness, history

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-29-2019

Memphis News Scimitar, May 29, 1919:

Ty Cobb Sued For $10,000 As Result Of Hotel Fight

Ty Cobb is the defendant in a $10,000 damage suit filed April 26 by Ada Morris…it became known yesterday when Judge Clyde J. Webster signed an order of default, attorneys for the plaintiff claiming they served notice of the suit during the baseball game [in Detroit] on that date and that Cobb ignored it. The plaintiff alleges that Cobb kicked her following an altercation in a Detroit hotel on April 25.

Sounds like Cobb could have played in the NFL if it had been around then.

Anyway, according to reports, Cobb dropped an N-bomb on Morris and she responded unfavorably, so he kicked her in the stomach and knocked her down a flight of stairs. As one does. If one is a garbage racist monster.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 29, 2019 at 10:05 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: asshats, dugout, history, racism, ty cobb

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-28-2019

Washington Herald, May 28, 1919:

The flukiest kind of a fluke double due in part to Hap Felsch’s speed and in part to Eddie Foster’s mental lapse, defeated the Nationals [in Chicago yesterday] and gave the White Sox a clean sweep in the series. The final score was 4 to 3.
With one out [in the sixth], Felsch’s bounder caromed off Eddie’s glove. While Eddie held the ball Hap sprinted for second, stretching the rap into a double. Gandil singled to left scoring Felsch with the winning run.

This was probably nothing more than a brain fade on Foster’s part, but with the 1919 White Sox (and specifically Felsch) involved, it does make me wonder just a bit.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 28, 2019 at 10:12 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The earliest known baseball game to be commemorated. In England.

If you’ve ever been to the United Kingdom, you’ve almost certainly seen buildings and parks and stuff with blue plaques on them. They’re historical markers which say things like “Lord Nigel-Hogg-Snootbury lived here, 1858-1869” or “Musician Ian Dexys, singer for the band The High Numbers, overdosed in this flat in 1970.” Stuff like that. They’re put up by a body called English Heritage, which manages all the old buildings and monuments and stuff in the country. You may be familiar with some of its portfolio.

I’ve made a lot of friends in the world of British baseball recently, which I suppose is what landed me on the press release list for the latest blue plaque being unveiled. The subject: the first ever baseball game. And no, it’s not in Cooperstown, New York or the Elysian Fields in Hoboken. It’s in, of all places, Surrey:

“Baseball, surely, is American? No, sorry, it’s English!

The first documented game was played in 1749 in Ashley Park, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey on the estate belonging to the wife of Charles Sackville, Earl of Middlesex, who also played in the match. Another of the players was his friend, Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of George II . . . To celebrate this historical occasion exactly 270 years on, Walton Cricket Club in Ashley Park will be honoured with a Blue Plaque. The Blue Plaque unveiling will be a part of an all-day event on July 7,2019 hoping to attract 2,000 – 3,000 visitors. This will be the first time that baseball has been played on this pitch for 270 years! The wording on the plaque will read: “The Prince of Wales played in the world’s first recorded game of baseball on 12th September 1749 here in Ashley Park.”

Rather interesting from my perspective- this is a rare chance for my professional interests and my hobbies to intersect.



QLE Posted: May 25, 2019 at 06:04 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blue plaque, commemoration, history, surrey

Friday, May 24, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-24-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, May 24, 1919:

Because of the danger of an injury to his hands, Jack Dempsey, who is to meet Jess Willard in a heavyweight championship battle [in Toledo] July 4, probably will drop baseball from his training program.

The challenger engaged in a game [yesterday], and Tex Rickard, promoter of the contest, wore a worried look every time Dempsey raced to pick up a bounder or stabbed the air in fielding fly balls. Rickard fears Dempsey might break a finger if struck with a swiftly batted ball.

Dempsey already has stored his motor car until after the match and is avoiding all other risks of an injury.

Yeah, I imagine if you’re trying to avoid injuries to your hands, it’s a good idea to avoid fielding hard-hit grounders with a glove from 1919.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 24, 2019 at 11:00 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-23-2019

Grand Forks Herald, May 23, 1919:

Officials of the Boston National league club announced that Jim Thorpe, the Indian outfielder, purchased from the New York National league club, would report immediately and be used against lefthanded pitchers.
[After the 1912 Olympics, Thorpe] devoted his entire time to professional baseball, having been a member of a number of minor league teams as well as the New York Nationals at various times during his career. He is a fast fielder and a speedy baserunner. In the past his greatest weakness has been inability to hit big league curve pitching. When he was able to hit the ball, however, he drove out terrific liners for extra base hits, frequently sending the ball to the farthest corners of the major league parks.

The good news for the Braves is that Thorpe absolutely raked for them in 1919: .327/.360/.429 (143 OPS+) as a bench outfielder.
The bad news is that in 1920 he was involved in the founding of something that eventually came to be called the *checks notes* *squints* National Football League and slowly became a football player who played some baseball, rather than a baseball player who occasionally played football.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 23, 2019 at 10:55 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-21-2019

Memphis News Scimitar, May 21, 1919:


Ruth’s terrific drive over the right field fence with the bases filled, checked St. Louis yesterday, Boston winning 6 to 4.

That was Ruth’s first of eight career grand slams. He also pitched a complete game 100 years ago yesterday because he was Babe Ruth and that’s what he did. In related news on the same page:

From now on Babe Ruth will be primarily a pitcher and will cavort in the outfield only in emergencies or on special occasions. Manager Barrow reached this decision a few days ago.

Ruth had a desire this spring to become a regular outfielder so that he could murder pitchers’ offerings every day in the week. His ability to do said murdering was not questioned, but his class as an outfielder was. Added to this was the fact that eventually his regular playing in the garden might injure his pitching ability.

Despite this report, Ruth continued to split time between left field and the pitcher’s mound for most of the rest of 1919.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 21, 2019 at 09:52 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history

Monday, May 20, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-20-2019

Bridgeport Evening Farmer, May 20, 1919:

Big Chief Meyers, manager of the New Haven team, had better win more games than his team has copped in the past six days or one of these fine mornings he may find himself on the outside of a ball park looking in.
Up to yesterday the New Haven players had not engaged in one single practice together. There seemed to be no desire on the part of the pilot to take out his team for a couple of hours each morning and instruct the players to go through some sort of drill.
“Red” Torphy has several times attempted to get the boys onto the ball field, but only a few have responded. Big Chief doesn’t seem to care.

Unsurprisingly, Meyers didn’t make it through the season as the manager. He stuck around as a player and played pretty well, but the team finished seventh in the Eastern League with a 47-62 record.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 20, 2019 at 10:23 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: defensive indifference, dugout, history

Friday, May 17, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-17-2019

New York Sun, May 17, 1919:

Herman (Germany) Schaefer, who succeeded Arlie Latham as the jester of the national game, died suddenly yesterday at Saranac Lake, after an illness of several months. Tuberculosis was the cause of his demise…
Schaefer’s comedy was clean and wholesome, albeit athletic. One of his performances was an imaginary tight rope walk, using the chalk line on the field as the rope. His narrow escapes from falling were provocative of merriment.

He also was in the habit of staging a wrestling match in which he threw himself after a desperate struggle.

Schaefer is remembered as a clown, but he was a pretty good player. He was mostly a second baseman but played every position except catcher, had a career OPS+ of 97, hit .334 as an everyday first baseman in 1911.

In terms of career WAR, he’s about halfway between Mickey Morandini and Junior Spivey. If you just take their best seven seasons, Schaefer was about like Scooter Gennett or Mike Lansing. Not bad.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 17, 2019 at 09:55 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-16-2019

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, May 16, 1919:

Scoreless for twenty-seven innings and averaging exactly five hits to the last four games, the A’s now are experiencing one of the worst slumps the Shibe firm has suffered since Mack tore down his championship ball club after the world’s series of 1914. That is saying considerinable, for the Mackmen have had some SLUMPS in the three years.
“The proper spirit is lacking,” said Mack. “They don’t have the necessary fight, the get-up-and-go that makes the ball club battle from the drop of the hat. I don’t mean to say that they aren’t taking the game seriously, but conditions have been against them.

Namely that they’ve been facing Major League ballclubs, a situation for with they were completely unprepared. The 1919 Athletics’ winning percentage (.257) was lower than their team OBP (.300), and they were last in the league in on-base percentage. Their winning percentage was lower than pitcher Walt Kinney’s career batting average.

They were last in the league in a lot of things: runs, hits, doubles, walks, strikeouts, batting average, OBP, slugging, OPS, hits allowed, runs allowed, earned runs allowed, walks allowed, and ERA. They could have been the most gung-ho group of ballplayers in the history of the sport and it wouldn’t have mattered.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 16, 2019 at 10:18 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: bad teams, dugout, history

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-15-2019

Columbus Dispatch, May 15, 1919:

Walter Rehg, former St. Paul outfielder, who was recently turned over to Indianapolis by Cincinnati, is the player who, at the time he went “up” was said to be the freshest kid that ever broke into the big league.

It is said of him that when he joined the Pirates he was sent in to bat for Outfielder Booe. The umpire was not familiar with either Rehg or Booe. The umpire was not familiar with either Rehg or Booe. “Who are you hitting for?” said the ump.

“Booe!” said Walter. “Cut your kidding,” replied the arbiter. “Booe! you big stiff” was Rehg’s retort.

Then the umpire turned to the stand and bawled out “Rehg batting for exercise!” After that the game proceeded.

If this happened, it wasn’t in an official game. Rehg and Booe never appeared in the same game for the same team. I’d like to think Arlie Latham scoffed at the description of Rehg as the freshest kid to make it to the big leagues.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:06 AM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-14-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, May 14, 1919:

Charles Dooin, playing manager of the Reading International League baseball club, accused of playing ball on Sunday, May 4, was discharged by a [Reading] court [yesterday] because of insufficient evidence. The prosecution had been brought at the instance of the Reading Ministerial Association. The prosecution will make further efforts to stop baseball [in Reading] on Sundays.

As far as I can tell, Red Dooin didn’t play baseball on May 4, 1919. His team did, but he didn’t.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 14, 2019 at 10:07 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, May 13, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-13-2019

Chattanooga News, May 13, 1919:

Pitcher Urban Shocker, of the St. Louis Browns, late yesterday, filed suit for divorce against his wife, Minerva. He charges she tried to ruin his professional career by telling false stories about him to managers of baseball clubs.

That’s just weird. There’s gotta be more to that story, but I can’t find much about it.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 13, 2019 at 10:49 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, May 10, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-10-2019

Columbus Dispatch, May 10, 1919:

Ty Cobb today announced his retirement from baseball - not during this present year but at the end of the 1920 season.

“I won’t be a has been, so I am going to retire in two more years,” said Cobb in his interview printed [in St. Louis]. “I’d rather step out with cheers than jeers, step out before I am forced out and it is about time for someone to fill my shoes any way. At the end of the 1920 season I will celebrate my fifteenth full season as a major leaguer.

Cobb played nearly another decade, hit .350 four more times and .400 once, and was still a very good player into his 40s. He was never a has been, except for when people said things like “It has been a pleasure to watch this incredible ballplayer for the past quarter-century.”

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 10, 2019 at 10:35 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-9-2019

Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 9, 1919:

The highest price ever paid for a baseball was paid [yesterday] when John D. Rockefeller gave $1,000,000 for a sphere autographed by Christopher Mathewson, of the New York Giants, at the Victory loan rally at the subtreasury.

Several baseballs, autographed by other prominent players, brought magnificent sums. Arthur Fletcher, captain of the Giants, received $500,000 for a ball from the New York Trust Company, and J.P. Morgan & Co., bought one from Larry Doyle for the same amount.

In today’s dollars, that’s *checks notes* $7.34 trillion. Okay, not really. Based on the CPI, $1 million in 1919 is equal to about $14.7 million today.

Meanwhile, the Memphis newspaper is apoplectic about Chicks manager Cy Barger deciding to pitch to Chattanooga’s Bob Higgins with two on, two out, and the pitcher on deck. Higgins hit a ground ball, the third baseman booted it, and the winning run scored.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 09, 2019 at 10:38 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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